Tag Archives: crafts

Feather Ornaments

23 Oct

Start with dead ring-necked pheasants.  Have your husband skin them instead of plucking!  Thanks to Jay I had two adult males and a hen.

Add some cardboard circles cut from a cereal box, scissors, a glue gun.

Cut and paste.  I  tend to use 6 or 8 feathers per round.  Three rounds, each smaller than the last.  Contrast, contrast, contrast!

Running out of feathers is not the problem.  The toxic fumes from the glue gun drove me outdoors from the shop, and then the breeze sprang up.

For the middle: a small antique button, usually one with a metal loop back which is hammered flat.  To finish,  glue heavy black upholstery fabric slightly larger than the circle and sandwich black cord between the board and fabric for a hanger.

New Box

13 Sep

Banner’s old home box was well loved and used up.  Jay moved it to the large white spruce this spring because the starlings were using it as a nest box and he could shoot them coming out of it easier there.  But it had seen its best days: the roof and corners had been chewed; it no longer kept out all the wet.

So last night jay finished up a new box for the Earl and Merle Squirrel. Then we rearranged their cage.  They slept in their tissue box on top of the wood box last night.  We want to see if they will move their things into the box on their own.



Ooh, a hole!

Yesterday morning we took a spin together.

And this morning 11 new Monarch larvae were seen.  I walked in areas of the field I have not before.  How happy seeing each new one made me. 32 + 11 = 43.  At least.

Spinning Wensleydale

5 Aug

Not the name of a new band, but what an idea: The Spinning Wensleydales.  Remember  Wallace and Gromit? If not, just hop on over there; they are great characters.  If so, then you know that Wallace’s favorite cheese is Wensleydale.  A few years ago the sheep themselves came to my notice.  Lovely large longwool breed that is being bred in the US to as close as possible a pure line without importing animals.

I bought a half pound of Wensleydale roving at the Troy fair. It is all spun.

I added a fair amount of twist while keeping the singles fairly thick.  The result:

The yarn is bulky, about 400 ypp.  It is longwool so to the hand it feels nice, but on the face you wish not to repeat .  But it is lovely.

Troy Wool Day (2)

29 Jul

The other reason we judges were at the Troy was to judge the fair entries in the various craft categories.  entries were down this year, but we kept quite busy with what was at hand. Here are some snippets.   And then there was some shopping…

Loch’s Maple Fiber Mill was where two of us bought rovings ready to spin.  A half pound each of some lustrous mohair and Wensleydale wool came home with me.  Sharon got those as well as most of a light grey Teasdale/Wensleydale roving.   I highly recommend Randy and Jamie’s business.  They have machines imported from Europe so are able to process fiber into very fine rovings. They have a 16 month backlog for processing!


There were lots of fleeces for sale, like these from Mary Stepney’s sheep.  Mary herself no longer runs her place.  The prices have gone up considerably: $15.00 per pound for raw skirted fleeces!  They are beautiful.


Here are three examples of yarn we judged: a hand spun boucle (say boo-clay since diacritical marks are outside my skill level to apply), paper yarn, and hand-dyed mohair locks spun into yarn.  The boucle was a wonder: it was also entered in the sheep to shawl in the warp as an accent in the Dream Weaver’s teal-winged duck shawl.  The paper yarn is for display and spun from old tissue sewing patterns.  The goat yarn is pretty and had a hard hand; its intended use was for ornamenting a scarf which we felt might one would not want in contact with skin.


The drop spindle contest.  Who can spin the longest thread in ten minutes.  For the first time in memory, we had a tie for first place: a very fine grey wool and a thick, dark brown camel both had 52 yards on the spindle–more than twice as much as any others.  If I am recalling correctly.


The Spinning Bunny was there, too.


Above are the three shawls that we gave special prizes to.  The Crab Nebula shawl was designed for a Ravelry contest.  The entrant even had a photo of the Crab Nebula attached to show us how well she did.  It is wool and silk.  The gold shawl was spun on a drop spindle and plied on a wheel.  It had some angelina in it so in certain light is looked as if it was covered with gold leaf.  And the rust colored shawl was from yarn spun more thick but incredibly softly and knitted into a lovely leaf-edged pattern.

More entries.  Please note the blanket in the lower left hand corner.  It was our best of show.  Spun by the young weaver for Cat’s Cradle.  It was her second project ever.  She included her pattern draft, a color card of all the yarns she used–all hand spun and hand dyed by herself.  It was soft and the colors worked well together.

And it was beautiful.  The photo does not do it justice.

Wool Day in PA (1)

28 Jul

Yesterday was Wool Day at the Troy, Pa Fair.  Three of us went down to judge the hand spinning, weaving, and sheep-to-shawl contest.

There were four teams competing in the Sheep-to-Shawl:

Each team had six members: five spinners and a weaver.  One spinner plies the yarn.  All prepared the wool for spinning from a fleece of their choice which was brought into the ring with them.  The looms were warped prior to the contest.  Three teams had hand spun warps.  The sett varied from 8 to 12 ends per inch. They had four hours to complete a  (minimum) 72-inch long, 18-inch wide shawl.


This is the Fort F__?__ Flickers  (the middle name escapes me) shawl.  It was based on the theme of a daffodil.  The warp was dyed green at one end and slowly changed to deep yellow at the other end.  The team used a white fleece for the warp. It was a nicely spun and woven shawl.  I wonder if their use of food dye will mean it is not light fast.  The Flickers was the youngest team.  They came in second.


Cat’s Cradle used an unusual table loom.  The sheds were raised and lowered by turning the wheel. This was the weaver’s third project!  She did an admirable job, but the sett was too high (so the shawl was more like a blanket)  and their shawl too short (a baby blanket).  Cat’s also used a white fleece for the weft. They came in fourth.  Isn’t that warp lovely?


From our own guild were the Sheep Thrills.  An appropriate name.  They used a dark grey fleece from Christine Johnson’s Johanneshof Romneys  as the weft over a boughten grey warp that looked almost lavender next to the handspun. Bill, who is an expert weaver in cotton, wove an incredible shawl that had a zig-zag border not only on the long sides but also on both short sides which enclosed a square diaper pattern (diaper in the design sense).*  But alas, their shawl was short.  Sheep Thrills came in third.

Dream Weavers wove a shawl based on the theme of a teal winged duck.  They used two shades of grey hand, a dark blue teal, black and a little bit of boucle–all hand spun in their warp and then used a lighter grey fleece as weft. The result was a simple elegant shawl that  incredibly beautiful. Dream Weavers finished first and won first prize.

* Textile fabric woven with a small and simple pattern formed by the different directions of the thread with the different reflections of light from its surface and consisting of lines crossing diamond-wise with the spaces variously filled up by parallel lines, a central leaf or dot, etc. – the geometrical or conventional pattern design forming the ground of this pattern. A pattern or design of the same kind used to decorate a flat surface.
The Oxford English Dictionary.

Father’s Day Card featuring Clarisse

15 Jul

Just for the record, Here is the cards the girl made Jay after they had been fishing at the second reservoir the day before–opening day of bass season:

Clarisse is wearing her halter and having a high old time along.  As are the girl and her father.


7 Jul

The hydrangeas are coming into bloom.  This is exciting!  Neither have bloomed since the years they were planted.  For one that is over a decade; I had been ready to pull it out if no blooms this year. Here is the first bloom off the newer one with a yellow rose.

A couple years ago the girl bought wool and silk at the guild’s rock day to make felt.  Yesterday a few of us met to divvy up books, yarn, and tools which dear departed Celia had bought and her Henry has since found. The get together inspired her to break out the fiber and get to work.

She made a wool and silk scarf.

The finished product is very beautiful!

And last but by no means least: both the girl and I have spied an Indigo Bunting.  She a few days ago and me this morning on the walk.  It flew from the ground up into a tree thick with leaves. Then it gave its annoyance cry.  (my interpretation).  Which is exactly what is recorded at the end of the “typical voice” sounds on the site.  Perhaps it is nesting?  Perhaps it is the one which made a meal of my flying friends?


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